UNM was honored recently with the 2021 James S. Cogswell Award. The Cogswell Award is the most prestigious honor the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) can bestow to cleared industry.

Of the more than 12,500 cleared contractors in the National Industrial Security Program (NISP), less than 1 percent are annually selected to receive the award. This is the second time UNM has been honored in the last 5 years. 

Facilities must have achieved two consecutive superior ratings to be considered for the award and UNM has achieved 5 consecutive superior ratings. UNM is the only cleared university to receive the award in 2021.

Once nominated, facilities enter an 8-month internal review process by the national review team of DCSA regional directors and representatives from across the agency. The review team vets all nominations with 57 external agencies and makes recommendations to DCSA senior leadership for a final decision based upon the following criteria:

  • Overall security program
  • Senior management support
  • Security vulnerability assessments
  • Security education and awareness
  • Facility Security Officer (FSO) and security staff level of experience
  • Classified material controls

This award showcases UNM’s dedication to protecting not only classified information but export-controlled information, proprietary information and intellectual property, and if included in proposals, should lead to UNM being awarded more contracts and grants.

“We would not have been considered for this award without strong support from management and I thank you beyond words for that.  I also want to recognize Karen Brown for her dedication and contributions as the Assistant FSO and Export Control Officer.  I consider the four of us the team that made this rare recognition possible,” said Deb Kuidis, the manager of industrial security and facility security officer at UNM.

As part of the nomination process, facilities in contention for this award must certify they are eligible by completing the certificate of eligibility for further consideration of the award. This certificate must be completed by the most Senior Management Official for the facility and home office being nominated.

The DCSA must ensure the Cogswell Award is given to nominees with a reputation for integrity and lawful conduct in business dealings.